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How easy (or not) is using a rotavator and laying a lawn?

(8 Posts)
HailGallaxhar Thu 21-Apr-16 09:38:37

We have a newish build garden, with all the associated problems of rubble, breezeblocks and old crisp packets etc having been buried in the soil.

Garden companies are taking ages to get back to us with quotes, which makes me wonder if they actually want the work. Some of the work I'm pretty confident we could do ourselves - e.g. build raised beds - but the rotavating and laying of a lawn I was hoping to get done by professionals.

Is it really tricky to do?

cooper44 Fri 22-Apr-16 10:34:44

It's not tricky but it's quite a mammoth job. I did 250 sq metres in Nov and would never ever do it again.
If it's small then yes it's totally doable yourself.
it's just all about preparation - if it's a small space you could just dig over rather than rotavate (the rotavator can chop up weeds and spread them). Then you need to trample it down very careful and rake it over.
Then fertilise (I think about a week before you lay turf although i can't actually remember).
Turf laying is very simple - it's just very dirty and quite hard work as the turf is so heavy. Took us about three days for the laying bit. Now is a good time as it's a bit cooler - I would not want to do it once it warms up.
There are good videos online you can watch before you lay the turf.

Hedgeh0g Fri 22-Apr-16 10:42:38

Depends what your ground is like. We used a rotavator to dig up areas of 'lawn' and create flower beds. My other half described it as like trying to control a pack of Alsatians.

HailGallaxhar Fri 22-Apr-16 13:43:55

The ground is on a bit of a slope, it's an area about 9 m x 4 m. About 2 square metres of it have scrubby grass, the rest is mud. I know from digging a couple of beds that the ground has loads of rubble etc, can a rotator manage that? I wondering whether cutting our losses and doing what we can by hand then getting a load of top soil to chuck on top may be the way to go.

I'd be happy to sow grass seed, but are we pushing it a bit to be able to use the lawn this summer if we sow from seed?

cooper44 Fri 22-Apr-16 14:16:43

whether you do seed or turf you still need to prep the ground in exactly the same way.
You need to get all the rubble/bricks etc out - no the rotavator will not like them - they are quite powerful.
I would do it by hand because it's not an enormous area - dig it all over, remove all the rubbish, add topsoil if necessary, tread it and rake it.
You basically want it as flat and clear as you can get it - so that whatever you put on it can either grow or root easily.
It was a nightmare when we were trying to get quotes too which is why we ended up just doing it ourselves.

cooper44 Fri 22-Apr-16 14:17:57

I think you'd have grass by summer if you sow now but the difference is that you would have to keep off a seeded lawn for quite a while - with turf you can use it almost right away and it looks great instantly - but obviously there's a big cost difference.

ABetaDad1 Fri 22-Apr-16 14:24:18

I would level the soil and use turf. Its a grate time of year do it right now. Get yourself a really good hose and sprinkler system. It will need watering all summer. Every day in hot weather - best done late evening.

Get good quality lawn turf from a specialist company. Not cheaper landscaping turf. The good turf suppliers will come and lay it for you and level the ground if you wish.

I had it done last year. You wont be disappointed. We have the best lawn in the street.

SpecialStains Sat 30-Apr-16 15:08:09


We've just been laying turf in our new build garden today. The soil when we moved in was in an awful state, so boggy and had lots of building rubbish in it. We complained as we had been promised a rotavated garden with 'good quality' topsoil and 4 months on they removed the old stuff and put a new top soil on. Is yours bad enough to complain about? As a goodwill gesture for the inconvience of having an unusable garden, the building company also extended our patio for us for free.

Dh and I (mainly dh, as I'm 6months pregnant) have put down about 110 sq metres of turf today, which cost £240 delivered from a local site. Both fairly beginner gardeners - Dh watched a lot of YouTube videos beforehand, and spent a couple of hours yesterday getting the ground flat.

It is do-able yourself (and ours already looks nice, if I say so myself).

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